Hey ANers. My thoughts relate to how did the A's get to where they are now, where are they now, and where are the A's going.
How did the A's get here? The A's seem to be going through the motions without "E"motion. In what seems to be a recurrence of last year, the A's had Ron "Wash" Washington and Milton Bradley and their absences are now being heaven-forbid "felt."
Have you noticed, or is it just me, that the A's infield play has eroded this year. Ron Washington's inspiration, mentorship, and player accountability seem absent from A's coaching this year. There seems to be more made of stat keeping...OBP, SLG, OPS, ...ugh.
I remember last year when the A's were going through a similar "wall." Bradley was reported as telling his teammates that they were better than how they were playing and proceeded to back it up with a walk-off homer. For me, that was a turning point in the A's 2006 playoff season. Bradley's emotional leadership contributions are becoming clearly evident.
Where are the A's now? Admittedly, this season started off rough...more DLs than in recent history. But, what this season showed me is the strength of the A's farm system and the weakness of the A's farm system.
The strength of the farm system was shown in that with a patchwork lineup the A's were able to play .500 ball for the first half of the season. There were some bright spots, like Gaudin, diNardo, Cust, and Buck. Hopefully, their performances continue.
The weakness of the farm system was shown in that with a patchwork lineup the A's were only able to play .500 ball. The players brought up to play in the "Bigs" really could not sustain full-time player status. Management had to resort to trades. What happened to Marshall? Can you really bank the A's offensive future on a 27 year old "rookie" streaky-at-best hitter over a Hall of Famer candidate with a lifetime MLB .300+ BA?
That leads me to my last thought. Where are the A's going? The A's are known for their use of developing young talent. But, none of the young talent the A's have banked on are developing further once making the team. The free agent veteran's are severely underperforming, if they can even play. But, that is the gamble management took, and unfortunately the risks associated with each player is showing up this season. Further, how reasonable is it to believe every starting pitcher can pitch a near shutout everytime out in order to hand it over to a bullpen that must protect a statistical-max 3 run offense.
There was much talk of the A's as a late starter, and now it's the A's are a second half team. The A's are playing without an emotion. I was actually glad to see the Blanton incident and hoped it would spark the team...but for not. The team is now 0-for-4 in the beginning of the second half, over 10 games out of the wild card (what does that say when your hoping the team might make the wild card and not looking at the division title).
Seems like we all will need to have patience and wait for the injured to recover and new players to develop. Hopefully, there will be some emotional pillar will rise to the forefront. Unfortunately, it does not seem that it will be this season.